Food Service Management
Iím not a bad cook when Iím at home, and often cook for my girlfriend, her friends, my friends and anyone who happens to be around at the time. Partially because cooking is a hobby, and partly because cooking sometimes becomes a chore, when I do go out for a meal, or attend a function, I revel in the luxury of being served food that I would probably not bother to cook at home.
The fact that I am being served by someone else and that another person, or team, is cooking for me also enhances my pleasure presuming the food and service are as good, and preferably better, than my own. If either is not good it is the fault, at the end of the day, of the manager or proprietor.
The primary function of the food service manager, surely, is to create the best food and atmosphere within a given budget and which the customers not only like but will come back to more than once. One can take two contrasting situations to exemplify the difference between an evening-out being a positive rather than negative catharsis.
If you go, for instance, into a slightly busy restaurant where all the waiters and waitresses are so busy that it takes an age to even get a drink, (probable reason not enough staff), the menu takes half an hour to appear, and what is on it will take an hour to bring to the table, even if the order is taken correctly, you may be tempted to skip the pudding and coffee because you intend to be home before 2.00am!
Having taken another 30 minutes to get the probably extortionate bill, you will possibly make out that the (discretionary) 20% service charge is in there, (I didnít get any service so why should I pay for it?), so just dump the cash down (no tip or service charge) and exit immediately rather than bawl out the food service manager. Not perhaps the night out with your particular friend or spouse that you would have wished.
On the other hand there are other establishments with quite the opposite attitude.
You enter a busy and popular restaurant. The manager immediately comes over and if you havenít booked he will find a table and a couple of chairs from outside and set you up your very own table. Miraculously it is entirely and perfectly set in one minute, thirty seconds (cloth, cutlery, glasses, and vase with rose) and your drinks order was taken on your walk to your table. They arrive one minute later as you are already checking-out the menu.
You wine and dine in a wonderful atmosphere of having people really look after you. After your delicious Ďstarterí you have a wonderful main course, your wine glass is never empty, plenty of time for pudding, maybe a second pudding because the food is really, really good, some coffee, a liqueur, a cigar perhaps, ďOh, and the bill please.Ē
You look at the bill. Wow! Same amount as the Ďsnottyí place up the road. Iíve had three times as much to eat and a fabulous time. No service charge on the bill. You leave a really good tip and book a table for Friday evening. You leave to smiling faces to match your own.
Yes, itís the manager that makes a massive difference to the success of a catering business. A happy atmosphere is what most people are looking for on an evening out, and if the atmosphere among the staff is happy then it will become infectious very quickly, unlike the opposite catharsis up-the-road.
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